Two new laptops from Asus mark the launch of the company's first series aimed squarely at gamers. For £1,599, the larger ATI-based G2P (reviewed here) is decorated in ATI red and features both a hybrid TV tuner and a 17-inch 'ColorShine' display. Its smaller Nvidia-based brother, the G1, comes without the TV capability, uses a 15.4-inch monitor and is detailed in Nvidia green.
Resembling a decorated slab of brushed metal, the Asus G2P looks like a virtual prop from a futuristic first-person shooter -- it's festooned with exposed rivets, knurled hinge-pieces and red inlaid details. On powering up, you're greeted with an animated BIOS logo complete with its own sound effect, and multiple coloured lights twinkle into view.
Some of these lights are actually useful, such as the bright blue OLED display above the keyboard. When you're playing games you often don't get to see desktop accessories such as clocks and email alerts, but this little display makes sure you can always see just how late you're staying up, even when your monitor is engaged in full-screen action. If you'd rather not know, you can program it with your own messages and icons instead.
Plenty of pointless fun can be found in the big, red side-mounted flashers that light up when the graphics are going at full-tilt. It's a real attention-grabber -- you can't see much from in front of the screen, but don't try using it on the Underground.
The G2P makes it easy to land on-target by marking out the home keys -- W, S, A and D -- in bright red. All the keys are a comfortable size and they're well built, so they should cope with regular rough finger poundings.
The bright, clear 17-inch widescreen display is a good choice for a gaming laptop, and with a 1,400x900-pixel resolution it'll give you a good-quality image whether gaming or watching video. Although 720p is no problem, it's not up to full 1080p video, but if you're happy to tweak the settings (most games run in 4:3 and require some fiddling to run in 16:9 widescreen), the G2's Mobility Radeon X1700 is a good match for this screen resolution.
Above the display sits a 1.3-megapixel webcam with an integral microphone. It works very well, but unfortunately is fixed firmly in position with no tilt or swivel adjustments. The laptop's Intel high-definition audio and stereo speakers provide good sound quality and special separation. The built-in speakers have a tendency to distort at higher volumes, but we'll forgive it this indiscretion as many laptops fall victim to this.